By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
Scranton has been building steadily toward this moment.
A Knights team that trailed until the last 4:08 Opening Night and was tied into the final two minutes the next week against Wyoming Valley West, which still remains winless, seemed somewhat fortunate to be 2-0.
Scranton has left little doubt in its games since, outscoring opponents, 91-0, in the first halves the last four weeks.
Those six straight victories – two through escape acts, four through impressive starts – give the Knights one of District 2’s three perfect records going into Friday’s home game for sole possession of the Lackawanna League Division 1 lead.
Scranton and Valley View are both 2-0 in the division. The Cougars have won five straight since losing their opener at Crestwood.
In this space, in the opening column of the season, we predicted Valley View to win the division title. Scranton was projected as a District 2 Class 5A finalist, but not as one of the two teams in the division race.
The Knights have won three times when I’ve predicted them to lose, making them the only District 2 team with that distinction this season.
Scranton quarterback/safety Billy Maloney has emerged as one of District 2’s most valuable two-way football players this season and the Knights have changed the outlook for the LFC Division 1 race.
If these predictions were done by percentage, I might have projected Scranton’s chances of winning this game at about 10-15 percent before the season started. After six weeks, including four in-person looks at the Knights, I’d raise that percentage to about 48 and would place an expected non-factor in the race at about 45 percent to ultimately win the division championship.
The Knights have become a very real championship threat on both the division and district level.
Some of our most anticipated matchups, such as two from last week, have turned into romps. It’s hard to picture this one continuing that trend.
This week’s predictions, with home teams in bold italics:
Valley View 21, Scranton 17
For the second straight week, there are three games matching teams in the Gaughan Auto Store Super Six Football Power Rankings. The games also send teams that are 5-1 or better against each other. Unbeaten Lakeland is at Dunmore in a game between two of the three LFC Division 2 teams that won their division openers. Crestwood is at Hazleton Area in a meeting of rivals trying to remain in the WVC Division 1 race while trying to improve their playoff seeding positions. Hazleton Area looked like District 2’s best overall team before getting roughed up by Dallas last week. Lakeland remains the district’s best state threat, a status it grabbed on Opening Night by handling Scranton Prep.
Lakeland 35, Dunmore 21
Crestwood 30, Hazleton Area 29
Following its 42-20 romp at Hazleton Area in what may have been the most impressive single team performance of the season, Dallas can clinch at least a tie for first place in WVC Division 1 when it heads to Berwick, a team that has been in and out of the Super Six. Another road trip could present some challenges.
Dallas 34, Berwick 26
CONTINUING THE CLIMB?
Riverside and Holy Redeemer are teams on the rise, reaching the .500 mark at 3-3 and, in Riverside’s case, joining the Super Six. Both are on the road in what could be interesting divisional games. Holy Redeemer is trying to disrupt the WVC Division 2 race when it plays at Wyoming Area.
Riverside 19, Lackawanna Trail 18
Wyoming Area 38, Holy Redeemer 29
Two rivals that appear to be improving in recent weeks meet Saturday. Scranton Prep won at Delaware Valley and put a Mercy Rule beating on Wallenpaupack the last two weeks. Abington Heights won its first game of the season, also beating Wallenpaupack, then played a one-touchdown game at Valley View.
Scranton Prep 28, Abington Heights 17
Western Wayne will try to extend its four-game winning streak when it plays at Mid Valley Friday night. A win would put the Wildcats in a tie for the LFC Division 2 lead with the Lakeland-Dunmore winner.
Western Wayne 30, Mid Valley 14
Wallenpaupack 30, North Pocono 21
Nanticoke 37, Tunkhannock 23
Carbondale 46, Holy Cross 15
Montrose 36, Hanover Area 18
Honesdale 27, West Scranton 6
Williamsport 34, Wyoming Valley West 8
Pittston Area 26, Lake-Lehman 6
Old Forge 38, Susquehanna 9
Delaware Valley 30, Wilkes-Barre Area 15
In a repeat of Week 5, I had two games different from The Rick’s Picks and we split, each getting one correct. After each going 15-3 (83.3 percent) on Week 6 predictions, Rick still has a two-game lead on me in our season-long competition. There are more differences this week, so more chance for movement in either direction. Rick’s predictions have a season record of 83-23 (78.3 percent) while mine are at 81-25 (76.4 percent). We’re creeping closer to the 80-percent mark, but in my case, even if things go well, it will take more than this week to get there. See where Rick and I differ and read what Rick has to say in this week’s predictions at: 2022 The Rick’s Picks – Week 7 | NEPA Football.